Election in Porto Alegre – a minimum program

Marina Gusmão, Sweet Cobra.


Porto Alegre was once an icon of the global left, which projected the city across the world.

What is very new in the scenario of democratic struggle, on a global scale, is that the formation of a new reactionary or conservative hegemonic bloc, anti-democratic and tending to fascist, occurs – nowadays – through the displacement of its center of power internal – until then occupied by conservatism and the traditional right, to the dominance of an extreme right that, through social networks and the basements of the internet (in its intricacies of organized crime) set the “tone” and “undertone”, for a significant part of the national ruling classes.

These abandoned all simulations of appreciation for democracy and moved to the camp of fascism: a cruder and tougher fascism, which dispenses with any intellectual formulations and prepares for a new direct fight against democratic liberalism.

The conceptual modulations to define what is “left” and what is “right” change, depending on the nature of the economic-social and cultural conflicts, flowing in each political territory. In each historical context, the electoral decision of the “parts” of society – represented by the parties and fractions of parties that operate in each scenario – never results from a geometric calculation that compares – in a mechanical way – the “majority” or “minority” ideas, that politically oppose groups and classes: electoral contingents organize their affinities for a series of reasons – close and remote – fixed or variable, which defy any standard of analysis that could have had any validity until then.

I think that the local political cut, which separates men and women, between-classes and intra-classes, today is – much less – the “objective” position that these groups and classes occupy in the social hierarchy of a city or a state and – much more – their subjectivity, more or less likely to agree with fascism against democracy or opt for the democratic path to face the fascist hydra.

If this is correct, the decisive cut in alliance systems would be located, then, between those who would be against the mass of citizens who do not tolerate the infection of fascism – as a radical evil that degrades the human condition to the lowest level that the species can reach – and those who no longer accept liberal democracy and start to agree with dictatorship and the politics of fear.

Porto Alegre was once an icon of the global left, which projected the city across the world. It is the same city that today is run by a mayor who is completely foreign to that tradition, elected in free elections, who is a denialist and a privatist, a supporter of a former president who shames us all over the world, who encouraged the denial of science and who was defeated, in the city of Porto Alegre, by Lula in the second round of the presidential elections, by seven points (Lula 53,50%, Jair Bolsonaro 46,50%).

Such percentages show that the city still lives and has memory and that here would be a suitable field for a great popular and democratic unity, which would rescue – remodeled by time and new technological mutations – the utopia of a democratic, open, cultured and participatory city , who was once a model for the world.

Considering that the extreme right – today – has colonized the traditional right and politically directs parts of our country and the world, the result of the presidential elections in Porto Alegre made it clear that even in extreme and adverse conditions Porto Alegre has not transformed – as it was said during Bolsonaro’s short reign – in a “right-wing city”. Much less leftist, however. What can characterize Porto Alegre, through this electoral sign, is just (and it is a lot to guide us in the context of the election) that in a hypothetical fascist attempt against the democratic rule of law, its majority would not be pro-fascism and would not admit a dictatorship of any kind to govern our lives.

I report, with all due respect to my fellow leaders of the left and center-left camp in Porto Alegre and to the democratic center, fragmented in all traditional parties, that the tactical movements that the Parties of the progressive camp have made, up until now – towards municipal elections – are recklessly postponing strategic political negotiations (programmatic and political unity) for next year’s municipal elections.

I speak of “progressive parties” on purpose, just as I speak of the “anti-fascist camp” on purpose and I do so because “progressivism” can only exist, today, based on the experience of social democracy and the unrestricted commitment to political democracy .

What I have maintained is that, unlike fascism, which in its alliances with the traditional right and the extreme right, showed that it can be both authoritarian and radical-liberal – “libertarian” in economic terms – that it knew how to unite fascists and conservatives in a death pact during the pandemic, let us present today a minimum program for the regeneration of the city, with simple and direct ideological premises and programmatic principles that make people regain their taste for politics and resume the virtues of solidarity.

And, for this, we need to agree on the rules of programmatic unity, then looking for a candidate, at the same time capable of unifying us and making the city overcome the resignation to the authoritarianism of the “syndics” without a program and without creative enlightenment.

*Tarsus in law he was governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (Arts & Crafts). https://amzn.to/3ReRb6I

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